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Outsourcing Roadmap Index

 
 

Vendor Selection: Overview

 
 

4. Meeting on-site. Based on the RFIs and your evaluation preferences you can shorten the list of companies still in the race for the outsourcing contract.

 
 

Again, be fair and notify those companies you have shortlisted and also the ones you did not select. If they ask, give them information on the reasons why they had not been selected. Why? First, the companies put effort in providing you a lot of information. Second, they can also learn from negative experiences.

 
 

At this point you should meet the pre-selected companies. Ask them to visit you and present their company, or even better, go and visit them. Consider here the following:

 
 

For smaller vendors traveling is an investment. Do not make them waste their resources

 
 

Provide sufficient information so the companies can prepare properly. There should be no time (yours and theirs) wasted.

 
 

If you visit companies abroad keep contact with IT branch organisations, embassies, business support organisations and other relevant organisations and people. Visit them. They can provide a lot of help and assistance.

 
 

The objectives of the evaluation meeting are:

 
 

Establish personal contacts

 
 

Clarify and verify information the companies submitted as a response to the RFI

 
 

Based on the submitted RFI packages prepare for the meeting carefully.

 
 

Distribute the meeting agenda and the list of key issues to be discussed before the meeting so all parties can prepare.

 
 

Before you meet the companies provide them with enough information about your intents and interest so they can prepare for the meeting and tailor their presentation. Distribute a meeting agenda before the meeting. The meeting should include company presentations and structured interview. Be aware of cultural and business differences. What looks like socializing, in many countries, at the beginning of a meeting is a very-very important factor to build trust and acceptance. Be open minded, polite, non-offensive and do not forget that you are a guest in the country. Keep the general rules what you would keep in your own country when preparing and conducting a meeting.

 
 

Prepare your own company presentation and clarify again your intents. You do not have to get into strategic issues but the companies must understand at this point at least the greater picture. In case necessary confidentiality agreements should be signed at the beginning of the meeting.

 
 

Ask the companies beforehand to prepare the following for the meeting:

 
 

Company profile

 
 

Organisation chart

 
 

Marketing material

 
 

List of references and clients

 
 

Copies of the quality certificates (CMM, ISO, other)

 
 

Company presentation

 
 

All of the above should be available electronically.

 
 

5. Pilot Project. Many IT outsourcing vendors are ready to carry out a short project in order to prove their capabilities. On the other hand many service buyers also prefer to carry out a short pilot project in order to test the real capabilities of the selected vendors with real projects. Invite all shortlisted vendors to participate in the pilot.

 
 

What are the characteristics of a Pilot Project?

 
 

It is short. Often only a small part of a larger project.

 
 

It is well defined in a Request For Proposal (RFP). The basis of a trial project is a well defined RFP.

 
 

It is often “free”. A pilot project is an investment on both side to test the capabilities, resources, corporate and cultural fit.

 
 

Vendors usually are prepared to carry out a small scale pilot project not exceeding a few man weeks by a small team.

 
 

The real value of a trial project is that both side can try and taste;

 
 

how the working relationship develops

 
 

management style, expectations and requirements

 
 

communication and project management capabilities

 
 

language skills

 
 

cultural fit

 
 

technology and process competences/compatibility

 
 

6. Request For Proposal (RFP) At this stage the RFP document should be distributed to the shortlisted companies. By now the list of companies should not be longer than 2 or 3. The RFP document is a detailed description of the job to be done and the terms and conditions you are expecting the vendor to meet.

 
 

In order to maximise the RFP evaluation and vendor selection process for your own benefits you might want to include the following steps:

 
 

Establish RFP evaluation;

 
 

procedures,

 
 

guidelines,

 
 

criteria,

 
 

rating system

 
 

team

 
 

timetable

 
 

The RFP should contain the evaluation guidelines as well as the evaluation and selection procedure description along with the key deadlines.

 
 

Prepare and distribute the RFP to pre-selected vendors only (2-6 maximum).

 
 

Evaluate proposals

 
 

After the internal evaluation, hold a discussion with the vendors in order to verify/revise strengths and weaknesses and answer all questions that may impact vendor selection. At this stage negotiations may even be conducted.

 
 

A practical example - vendor selection at AVIS

 
 

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